A picture is worth a thousand words, but a toilet-scrubbing video’s value is millions … of views.
Welcome to #CleanTok, a specialty area of TikTok where content about household chores is vacuuming up attention faster and more efficiently than a deluxe Dyson upright.
"Let’s get the house sparkly clean together" is the #CleanTok tagline. People have responded by the billions to the bite-sized shared videos.
As of mid-January, content tagged #CleanTok on the platform had swept up 28.7 billion views. To get more granular: views from videos tagged #toiletcleaning racked up 155 million views, #ovencleaning (you know yours needs it) 92 million, and #carpetcleaning 771.1 million. And the numbers keep rising.
Long Island industry pros agree about the force driving the phenomenon. "Since COVID-19, there’s much more of an appreciation for cleanliness," says Craig Mannella, 37, who runs Stay Clean Long Island, based in Ridge.
Hunkering down at home — and working from there too — has meant that people are in their houses more than ever. Moreover, they’ve had time on their hands, Mannella adds. When you’re stuck in your home, the-cleaner-the-better is a philosophy to live by.
#CLEANTOK LONG ISLAND
Diana Castaneda, 30, who runs Dee’s Cleaning, based in Valley Stream, concurs and offers another take at why housework videos are so magnetic. "Cleaning is so satisfying because there’s instant gratification," she says.
Watching video posters roll up their sleeves (and roll on rubber gloves) and then get busy with a broom, brush, feather duster, sponge, you name it, delivers a delightfully rewarding rush.
There’s a bonus beyond the entertainment value and the contact high: You can learn something by slipping down the #CleanTok rabbit hole thanks to all of the tips, hacks and advice shared in the cleaning content. Admittedly, not every video is a winner.
Maid Brigade franchise owner Rob Lawrence, 44, applauds a #CleanTok video focused on laundry day. "There’s one showing how to clean a clothes dryer vent, which was very cool," says Lawrence, whose franchise is based in Hicksville. "It’s satisfying — and smart. If it’s not clean it could cause a fire."
On the other hand, Lawrence parts ways with a number of videos, particularly ones that pour on chemical cleansers like they’re going out of style. "We’re a green clean company, so a lot of the products you see on #CleanTok aren’t ones we would use," he says.
Industry insiders say the #CleanTok spotlight is good for business. "It’s made us take more pride in what we do," says Mannella, whose company’s YouTube videos show rugs, upholstery and laminate going from grubby to spick and span. A 15-second video showing carpet cleaning in Center Moriches is done to the tune of "No Reason." A voice, fittingly, sings: "It’s beautiful …"
"Cleaning is seen as a low-budget job," says Castaneda, "but I’ve tried to add a little glitz and glamour and educate people about the process." Dee’s Cleaning "before and after" videos, including ones of stovetops transformed from gooey to gleaming, have been great marketing tools.
"A clean environment isn’t only for your health," she says, "but also for your mental clarity."
Want to make it a clean sweep in 2022?
We asked industry pros for house cleaning chores you’re probably overlooking and do-it-yourself tips to make them shine. Let’s get busy.
1. Heating vents. Industry insiders call them the lungs of the house, so be sure they can breathe. Light buildup on a vent can be vacuumed with a brush attachment and cleaned in place with a damp microfiber cloth and drop or two of dish soap. If there’s a heavy buildup, remove the vent to facilitate a deeper clean.
2. Dishwasher. To cut through grease on the top and sides of this busy appliance, place one cup of distilled white vinegar or lemon juice on the top shelf of the dishwasher then run the dishwasher on a full wash cycle on the hottest water setting. Before the rinse cycle starts, add two tablespoons of baking powder to the base of the dishwasher to make the overworked appliance smell fresh.
3. Paper lampshades. Careful vacuuming works, but due to the slight chance of damage, industry insiders prefer Masslinn cloths. The specially treated wipes have a negative charge and are made to pick up and hold onto all types of fine dust.
4. Ceiling fans. Do look up. Do grab a step ladder. Like fans, the tops of doorways and windows and picture frames — anything above eye level — need regular dusting for maintenance’s sake.
5. High-traffic areas. You can do a better job here than you’re probably doing on rugs and carpets. Instead of vacuuming in one direction, say, up and down, also vacuum side to side. You remove more dirt and extend the life of your rugs and carpets.